"Where to Ride" questions

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Old 09-19-07, 07:59 PM
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StephenH
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"Where to Ride" questions

Hey folks, been riding my bike a bit more lately, and just pondering places to go instead of cruising around the block(s) or the local bike path. I'm in the Dallas area, Garland specifically.

So first question: Are there any rally-type road routes in this area that don't involve getting flattened by traffic? Some place you can just go ride 30 miles on the road without being in danger of your life, without being in some organized rally? I've been noticing a lot of local roads are maybe 3 lanes each way with no shoulder, no sidewalk even. It looks like I-45 would actually be a better place to ride than a lot of these streets (at least it has a wide shoulder). You can ride on side streets, but to get across the lake or out of town or across 635 even involves busier streets. What kind of places do y'all ride just for fun?

Second question: Is it legal (or wise) to ride on shoulders of freeways? Or does this vary?

Third question: I noticed one stretch of road near here where the road is 3- lanes each way, no shoulder, no houses around either, but has a decent sidewalk- is it acceptable to ride on sidewalks, assuming you're not running pedestrians over?

Fourth question: There is a rail-to-trails trail in Denton, a longer one in West Texas, and long trail going out from Lake Mineral Wells State Park. Are these trails paved? IE, are they fit for road bike or cruiser or mountain bike only or what?

Thanks for the input and opinions.
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Old 09-19-07, 11:27 PM
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Stephen, what part of Garland are you in? If you're not trying to ride in the middle of rush hour, there's nothing wrong with riding in the right lane of those 3-lane roads. Of course that depends on traffic level, etc. If you can get east/north of 190, there are some roads over there with not a lot of traffic (by Firewheel), and if you're close to Rowlett, there is a bike path that crosses over Ray Hubbard on 66. Once you get East into Rockwall, 66 is really nice, smooth and quiet. You can ride to Caddo Mills and Greenville on 66 if you're so inclined. Now to your specific questions:

1) Check out http://www.rockwallrotary.org/IMuplo...otRocksMap.GIF This is a route that someone turned me onto a few weeks back. All of the different distances are good rides, and traffic is good depending on time of day.

2) Not sure if it's legal or not, but I would have to call it unwise to ride on the shoulder of a freeway. Too much stress involved there for me.

3) I think most guys will say that it's acceptable to ride on the sidewalks if that's what you're comfort level is. But I think it's more safe to actually be on the road. Cars will see you if you're on the road, they won't always see you if you're on the sidewalk. You run the risk of getting turned into when the sidewalk meets the road. But hey, if you've got a long sidewalk with no road intersections and you're not comfy on the road, riding on the sidewalk has to be better than sitting on the couch right?

4) No idea, sorry.

You didn't say in your post, do you have a mirror? When I started commuting by bike, I was a nervous wreck until I got a rear view mirror. Now I can keep track of cars approaching from behind without having to whip my head around constantly. Just a small one that sticks to your helmet will do, nothing fancy required.

Also, it's worth getting a good rear blinkie. I have one that I bought for commuting, but I always have it on when doing other rides too. I figure anything that helps a car see you is a good thing.

Steve
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Old 09-20-07, 06:17 AM
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That bike path over Lake Ray Hubbard is one of the places I had noticed. I was thinking 66 was more ridable, but from Centerville out to Rockwall, it's all curbed with no shoulder, with high speed traffic- looks like a terrible place to ride. There at the bridge on Lake Ray Hubbard, it has the bikeway on the north and a wide shoulder on the south. But on the west end, that bikeway just merges into the shoulder, and then after a half block, the shoulders end. That leaves you mingling with the cement mixers at 55 mph, which is what I was trying to avoid.

The Hot Rocks route is just the kind of information I was looking for- but I gather from reading the rally reports that some of those rally rides depend on having lanes blocked off or other traffic control to make things safe, so I didn't know how they worked for just solo riding.

I'm down by the Duck Creek bikeway, by the way. And no, no mirror, haven't really been riding where I needed one, but will check into it.
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Old 09-21-07, 12:43 PM
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You're right, 66 isn't terribly bike friendly in that area. There are a couple roads that run parallel with it that can be used though. It takes a little scouting to find the best way, but that's half the fun.

When I rode the Hot Rocks route, it wasn't on ride weekend, I just borrowed the route and road it solo. No issues with traffic at all. It was an early Sunday morning if I recall.

I'll shoot you my cell number in a PM in case you want to do that ride some time.

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Old 09-21-07, 06:21 PM
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Stephen,

Here is the best option for a long ride headed east from where you are at......

Take Duck Creek/Rowlett Road to Main St in Rowlett, go east towards Rowlett HS and then take at the HS and go to 66. This eliminates the congestion at Rowlett rd and 66. At that point 66 is safe enough to take to the path on the other side of Dalrock. 3 lanes the whole way, you will be fine. Once across the lake and riding with the flow of traffic, climb that hill. That is the safest way across the lake and into Rockwall.

From there, you have lots of options, like Barlows said, take 66 into Royse City and Greenville, or take 740 into Heath. Most of the FM roads are not overrun with vehicles, and they do give wide berth. Sure, you run into the ocasional redneck but otherwise it is a fun ride. You could easily put in 50 to 75 miles on these roads if you wanted.

Hope that helps. Shoot me a PM if you have any questions

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Old 09-21-07, 06:23 PM
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one other thing, you could take Dart Rail @Walnut and Fifth and take it to White Rock and ride to Bike Mart and join the Saturday AM rides they offer. Something to be said for safety in numbers


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Old 09-22-07, 04:54 PM
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Thanks for the input, guys.

I went up to the "Family Fun" cycle in Denton today, and rode that, and did some driving in the area. I noticed up there, a lot of the FM roads have wide shoulders good for riding, but some don't. I guess I should have been paying better attention all these many years I've been driving around through the countryside!

I did find answers to a couple of my other questions. Evidently, both the Mineral Wells trail and the Denton Rail-to-Trail trails are gravel. There was a post on here somewhere about the Mineral Wells trail, and the Denton website had the info on theirs. I will try to check it out before too long.

A couple of other threads I found:

Routes East from Mesquite:
http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=304029

Safe Road Routes Near Dallas
http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=271554
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Old 10-14-07, 08:19 PM
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Just an update on this- I got my kicks on Highway 66 this afternoon- rode out to Rockwall and back. Highway 66 is three lanes each way, no shoulder, but still wasn't too bad riding on. I just stayed far right, and there weren't very many cars passing me in the right lane. Still not an ideal route, but doable. I got in 26.5 miles- most I've ever done in a day.
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